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Modeling Technique Request: How do you paint tire groves in 1/48?

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So here's what I've got:

  1. Prime the wheel (I use Black Mr Surfacer 1500 for everything)
  2. Tamiya X-85 Rubber Black
  3. What I want: Tamiya X-69 Nato Black for the contact patch of the tires
  4. Follow up with a circle cutter mask for the tire, then Insignia or Off color white for the metal rim.


How can I go about masking or setting up the contact patch/sipes/tread of the tire for the Nato black?




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There are two ways to do this: 


1) Measure the width of the groove using a digital caliper and calculate the circumference of the tire.  Punch these numbers into Silhouette Studio or Cricut Design Space to have the cutting machine cut out masking strips.  Airbrush the entire tire Rubber black.  Place masking strips into the groove and airbrush Nato black close to and perpendicular to the contact patch at low air pressure to avoid getting overspray onto the sidewall.  Remove masking strips from the grooves.


2) Spray the entire tire rubber black.  Spray the contact patch Nato black.  Gloss coat the contact patch around the entire circumference of the tire.  Neatly paint the grooves Rubber black using a fine point brush.  Alternately make a wash out of Rubber black and wick it into the grooves similar to high lighting panel lines.  Wipe away excess paint that got onto the raised areas.  Flat coat the contact patch.

Edited by RichardL
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If the tires aren't already matte, make them so. Then rub black or dark grey pastel dust into the tread.  You can clean it off the raised areas by rubbing with a finger, waiping with a barely-damp cloth or even an eraser. Seal with another flat coat.

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